Glaciers environmental change and the human race

Glacier chronologies obtained from different parts of the world have demonstrated that glaciers respond in different ways to climatic triggers. Predictions of future climate trends and glacier response must therefore avoid general statements about the linkage between recent glacier variations and climate change. Global warming scenarios invoke higher sea-levels, increased melting of the glaciers, and accelerated calving rates for the West Antarctic ice sheet. A warmer climate does not, however, necessarily mean that all the glaciers will disappear, because some regions may experience increased precipitation during the accumulation season.

The impact of humans on the environment depends not only on the nature of human society, but also on the nature of the environment (e.g. Kemp, 1994). As there are, in fact, many 'environments', there are many possible responses to human interaction. The different environments vary in scale and complexity, but they are closely linked, and in combination constitute the earth-atmosphere system, comprising a series of interconnected components or subsystems ranging in scale from microscopic to continental. In the past, human environmental impact was mainly at the subsystem level, but, the growing scale of interference has caused the impact to extend to a continental or even global scale.

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